How We Started....
by Pauline W. Hoffmann
I grew up on 40 acres in the middle of nowhere. Go ten miles up the road and when it seems as though the world ends, it’s another 15 miles.
When you’re a child you love the outdoors – the endless running through fields, playing in ponds, walking through the woods, biking up the road.
When you’re a teenager, you hate it. It takes 30 minutes to get anywhere including your best friend’s house. Going to the mall is an outing. The movies, a trek….be sure you’ve packed trail mix.
I attended a small, Catholic university in a rural area and loved and hated it at the same time. Why didn’t I choose a university in a city?
I graduated and moved to a city. Loved it.
Until I hated it.
My move to the country again was a gradual one. I went from the city to a first-ring suburb. Then to a second-ring suburb, then to the country. I grew up on 40 acres and moved to 57.
I got married to a wonderful man who also craved large wide-open spaces.
And I’m a witch.
Of course witches practice in cities all over the world. They also thrive in the countryside where it’s easy to grow herbs and walk in nature and practice outdoors.
I wasn’t raised a witch. I was raised by wonderful parents who said it was up to me to decide what religion I was or not, as the case may be. “Religion is a very personal choice,” I remember my father saying to me.
I thought I was an atheist, but it didn’t feel right. Then I happened up on a book or two about pagan religions. This was after I took an incredible class at that fine Catholic university titled Comparative Religions. There is a whole world of religious diversity out there! It was incredible.
While I certainly thought I might fit one of the big five (Christianity, Buddhism, Judaism, Hinduism, Islam), none of them seemed completed right. There was always something “off” about each of them.
Until I found Wicca.
It clicked immediately. The credo “Do what you will but harm none” resonated with me. The ties to nature appealed to my need to be in the country and to my love of science, particularly ecology. The dual god/goddess energies intrigued me. And I say “energy” because I don’t personify deity. I consider it energy. A feeling, an enveloping warmth, peace.
I started learning about the healing properties of herbs and essential oils and bought a line of all-natural body care products that I’ve since added to. I started tapping into my third eye and read tarot cards. People seek me out to read what might be in store for them. I raise chickens and bees and garden so I know where some of my food comes from. (I’ve heard that chickens are gateway animals – like gateway drugs but less harmful. Once you get chickens, you move on to other farm animals. We also have bees. I want goats next.) I started my blog because I have much to say and to add to the world, but it isn’t all about me. My life is not a solo project and not one of us is here working alone. We are a community – a community of talented, creative creatures coexisting in harmony – or so one hopes.
Did I mention that I’m also a professor? My husband an engineer? I love to learn. I love to teach. My husband likes to create and fix and devise. My goal is to help you on your journey wherever it may lead. May my experiences and the experiences of those I come in contact with aid us all.
Dr. Hoffmann is an associate professor and an entrepreneur. She is the owner of Wild Mountain Botanicals.
She received her doctorate and master’s degrees in communication from the State University of New York at Buffalo and her Bachelor of Science degree from St. Bonaventure University. Her research and teaching focus on conflict management, conflict resolution, and corporate communication and strategy. Prior to going into academia, Dr. Hoffmann worked in creative services for Catholic Health.
She regularly travels to Uganda, Africa with students working on initiatives related to women, health care and microfinance.
We are heading into this winter with two hives. I will bust out my "BuzzMat" suit to ensure we have honey and wax and wonderful hives.
Here's hoping we see two active hives in the spring.
Gunner and Bryce
Bryce, our pit bull, and Gunner, our terrier pug mix (we think) took came into our lives after Maggie, our St. Bernard, and Cocoa, our Chiweenie, died.
Bryce is about 8, we think, and Gunner is 3. Gunner took to Bryce right away. We call Bryce his "woobie."
The Young and the Nestless
We love our chickens.
The ladies, RuPeggy and Edgar.
We started with ten. And then there were none. Then we got ten more - pullets we thought.
There are four left from that batch - RuPeggy (not a hen, it turns out), Ann, Carol and Rose.
We got ten new pullets which are now six. One is Edgar (not a hen) and the others haven't been named yet. Waiting to see some distinguishing characteristics.
We are also planning our own "Chicken TV" YouTube Channel titled The Young and the Nestless.
Jamie and Maverick
Jamie has farming in his blood. He is an engineer by trade.
In his spare time he enjoys rebuilding old cars. He currently has a 1934 Ford he is working on.
His next projects are always a question.
Say hello to Maverick - a seven-year-old German Shepherd. His owner couldn't keep him and they knew we would give him a really good home.
Hell, when I die I want to come back as one of our dogs.